Monday, December 3, 2012
First week of Advent: Hope
"The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering." Exodus 3:7
"The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned." Isaiah 9:2
Advent began around the 4th or 5th century as a way to celebrate “the arrival” of Christ. Like Mary we wait expectantly for the coming birth of Christ and like all our brothers and sisters before us we also wait for Christ's final coming at the end of history. We celebrate what God has already done and look forward to what he is going to do in the future.
Expecting a child during Advent makes the whole thing take on new meaning. As Lindsay and I prepare our hearts this season we cannot help but make connections between our anticipation of this new life and our anticipation for God’s kingdom to break into this world. We experience the agony of waiting, the fear of what is to come, the joy at each new sign of life. We work to prepare a place for this little one and eagerly await her arrival into this world. The parallels are uncanny.
As we light a candle and focus our hearts this week on the hope we have in Christ may we see this world as one pregnant with possibilities. Christmas time can be a time where petty differences can rise to the surface or our need for more stuff can snuff out any whiff of the divine. Take some time this week to settle into the new reality that is breaking forth right in the midst of this one. Quiet your mind and focus on what Christ has done and on what he will do. Meditate one the word hope and what it means to you this year. Imagine yourself fulfilling our role as “midwives of another world” and what that would look like. This week may you deliver new life into the situations you find yourself in.
Lord as we look to forward to the birth of Jesus let us become hopeful people. May we see possibilities to love all around us and grant us the strength to pursue you wherever you take us.
When we suffer; remind us that you see and the story is not over
When we doubt; remind us that world is not yet what it should be and give us hope for a renewed reality.
When we see need; remind us of your love and grant us the courage to give a fresh word and good news to others.
Bring light into darkness and and cast out fear. Jesus be our hope.